by Chris Lingebach

ARLINGTON, Va. (CBSDC) – Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams spoke in front of Nationals fans — in the intimate confines of Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse — for 106.7 The Fan’s “Chalk Talk” on Monday.

Williams fielded questions in a Q&A style format, from Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, as well as fans, answering on a wide degree of questions, with the goal of Nats fans coming away with a better understanding of the first-time manager.

Here are some notes from the evening:

Players have to face much faster pitching, with higher frequency today:

  • “You guys have it so rough today,” Williams spoke of conversations he’s had with players. “Because everybody that comes out of the right field gate throws it a hundred miles an hour.”
  • “Do you understand that’s like one-fifth of a second,” he said of pitchers throwing 100 MPH. In one-fifth of a second, players have to decide “ball/strike, fastball/changeup/curveball, and whether you’re gonna swing or not. Wow.”

On giving Bryce Harper a day off:

  • “He’s so intense, that when it really goes off track, he really starts to work hard,” Williams said. For other guys, he notes, when things go wrong, they tend to ease off until they find their groove again. “Bryce says, ‘Okay, let’s go to the cage and hit a thousand balls.'”
  • Williams said giving Harper a ‘mental break’ is the manager’s way of saying, ‘Dude, you need a day off.’ “You’re swinging at balls over your head, and in the dirt, at the same time.”

On Harper hitting No.5:

  • “I like him five  because those guys set the table for him, and that’s a three-run homer waiting to happen.”

On instant replay:

    • “Yea, I want to get the calls right,” Williams said of being for the addition of instant replay prior to the start of the season. “But if they’re not gonna get ‘em right…”
    • The Nats have had two replays go against them: one was Ian Desmond’s inside-the-park home run reverting to a double. The second, also involving Desmond, was Sunday, when Desmond was called out at first after hitting a slow dribbler to third base.

More News from Chalk Talk:

Ryan Zimmerman’s “Got an Arthritic Shoulder”

This story will feature frequent updates.


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